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Pictured is M.B.A. alumna Jeanne Cotter, senior director of quality for GAI Consultants and a 2015 M.B.A. graduate of Point Park. | Photo by Jim Judkis

Meet Jeanne Cotter

Job title: Senior Director of Quality
Employer: GAI Consultants, Inc.
Degrees earned: M.B.A. with a concentration in Management (on-site program), 2015, Point Park University, and B.S. in Industrial Engineering, 1986, Penn State University
Hometown: Pittsburgh, Pa.
High school: Fox Chapel Area High School
Now living in: Franklin Park, Pa.
Hobbies/interests: Traveling, walking and spending time with family and friends
LinkedIn: Jeanne Cotter

As an engineer, why did you decide to enroll in Point Park's on-site M.B.A. program?

When I joined GAI four and a half years ago, they were just completing their first on-site M.B.A. program cohort. My supervisor was part of that cohort and explained to me that this was a program for senior managers at GAI. He encouraged me to consider participating in a future cohort. When the third cohort came around, I was ready to enroll and fortunately, I was selected for the program. I never thought I would go back to school after almost 30 years but it gave me an opportunity to focus on business management and sharpen my writing skills.

How have the M.B.A. classes benefited you as senior director of quality at GAI Consultants?

The M.B.A. classes gave me a different perspective on business. Throughout my career, I've been focused on optimizing operations and process development, mainly the technical side of business. What the M.B.A. classes helped me do is better understand the marketing, accounting and organizational systems sides of business. I've seen these in practice but they had not been a significant part of my formal education. The classes really helped me gain a broader perspective on business.

What was your favorite M.B.A. class?

Business Law was my favorite class. It was a great class in which the professor, Cliff Early, got everyone involved. Four of us were in Pittsburgh while six others dialed in remotely. Professor Early did an excellent job of puling everyone into the conversation. He challenged us every class and always kept us on our toes. He presented a problem to the class and expected everyone to give their opinion and be able to support it. It was very interesting. For four hours, we were all completely focused on what was going on in class.

What did graduate hooding mean to you?

It was exciting and rewarding. It was a journey for me. Starting out in the program I thought, "This is such a huge task I'm taking on," but when I walked into the ballroom at graduation, it really hit me that this is the end of the journey. It was very special to have done this with a group of my colleagues. We had a connection already but this really strengthened it. I'm proud of what my colleagues and I accomplished.

What are your career goals?

I hope to grow in the position I have at GAI and continue to participate on the senior management team. I've stepped in and managed different areas, most recently serving as the director of health and safety. I'm looking forward to using the new knowledge I've obtained in my M.B.A. classes. I'd like to grow not only in technical operations but also expand my corporate services duties and contribute in all aspects of the company.

Is there anything else you'd like to add?

The M.B.A. on-site delivery model that Point Park and GAI have developed is excellent. When I was considering going back to school I kept thinking, "Where am I going to fit this into my life?" Being able to attend classes in an accelerated format and on site, while being fully embedded in my career and family life, really helped enhance the whole learning process. Point Park and GAI should be commended for developing this on-site model, which enables working professionals to achieve their M.B.A. in an environment that fits into everyone's schedule in a two-year period.

More About: on-site M.B.A., M.B.A., Rowland School of Business, graduate hooding, Fox Chapel Area High School, alumni, GAI Consultants, success story, graduate programs